Unapologetically themself: Nonbinary Olympian shares powerful message

Nonbinary American skateboarder Alana Smith said their goal going into the Olympics 'was to be happy and be a visual representation for humans like me.'

7/27/2021 11:54:00 PM

Nonbinary American skateboarder Alana Smith said their goal going into the Olympics “was to be happy and be a visual representation for humans like me.” - NBCOUT

Nonbinary American skateboarder Alana Smith said their goal going into the Olympics 'was to be happy and be a visual representation for humans like me.'

Alana Smith at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Monday.Patrick Smith / Getty ImagesJuly 27, 2021, 6:43 PM UTC/July 27, 2021, 8:35 PM UTCByJo YurcabaNonbinary American skateboarder Alana Smith said their goal going into the Olympics"was to be happy and be a visual representation for humans like me."

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Though Smith placed last in their event, women's street, on Monday, they wrote in an emotional post later that day that"for the first time in my entire life, I'm proud of the person I’ve worked to become."Smith, 20, has been open in the past about attempting suicide as a teen and said that after competing at the Olympics, they were grateful to be alive.

"I wanted to walk out of this knowing I UNAPOLOGETICALLY was myself and was genuinely smiling," Smith, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote on Instagram."The feeling in my heart says I did that. Last night I had a moment on the balcony, I’m not religious or have anyone/anything I talk to. Last night I thanked whoever it was out there that gave me the chance to not leave this world the night I laid in the middle of the road. I feel happy to be alive and feel like I’m meant to be here for possibly the first time in a extremely long time. On or off day, I walked out of this happy and alive… Thats all I have ever asked for." headtopics.com

During Monday’s competition, Smith made a few mistakes and didn’t complete any of their more difficult moves, but they smiled throughout their round. At one point, they proudly held up their skateboard, where they had written their pronouns, “they/them.”

Fans on the internet rallied around them and celebrated the historic representation for nonbinary people.LGBTQ sports websiteOutsports reportedthat some commentators from a variety of networks misgendered Smith by using the incorrect pronouns when discussing Smith and their performance. Smith also shared videos on their Instagram stories taken by supporters who were correcting commentators as they watched the Olympics.

NBC Sports, which shares a parent company with NBC News, issued an apology Tuesday for streaming coverage that misgendered Smith."NBC Sports is committed to — and understands the importance of — using correct pronouns for everyone across our platforms," the network said in a statement, according to a press release from LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD."While our commentators used the correct pronouns in our coverage, we streamed an international feed that was not produced by NBCUniversal which misgendered Olympian Alana Smith. We regret this error and apologize to Alana and our viewers."

Read more: NBC News »

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NBCOUT I thought the goal was to represent your country not yourself. NBCOUT How did “they” qualify? NBCOUT You can't get around God. NBCOUT No one asked so why announce it? Does it supposed to somehow matter? She maybe nonbinary in her own mind but to the officials and everyone else she is a bio female.

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